Christmas is a feast full of nostalgia. We sing about peace, but don’t know how to bring it about. We wish each other happiness, but it seems so hard to be happy. We buy one another gifts, but what we need is kindness and feeling. We sing to the Baby Jesus, but in our hearts faith is being extinguished. Life isn’t what we’d want it to be, but we don’t know how to do it any different.
This isn’t just how we feel about Christmas. Life itself is filled with nostalgia. Nothing completely fulfills our desires. There’s no wealth that can offer real peace. There’s no love that fully responds to our deepest desires. There’s no profession that can satisfy all our aspirations. It’s not possible to be loved by everyone.
Nostalgia can have very positive effects. It allows us to discover that our desires go way beyond what we can possess or enjoy right now. It helps us to keep an open mind about what’s even better than what we know up to now.
It can also teach us to not ask of life what life can’t give us, to not expect of our relationships what they can’t offer us. Nostalgia keeps us from living chained just to this world.
It’s easy to go about suffocating the desire for the infinite that resides in our being. We close ourselves in a shell that makes us insensitive to what could be beyond what we can see and touch. The feast of Christmas, lived out in nostalgia, creates a new atmosphere: these days capture well the need for home and security. The little bit we let our hearts be touched, reveals that God’s mystery is our final destiny.
If you are a believer, faith invites you throughout these days to discover that mystery, not in some foreign or impossible-to-reach land, but in a new-born child. It’s that simple and unbelievable. We need to come close to God as we come close to a child: calmly and quietly; without solemn pronouncements, but with simple words born of the heart. We meet God when we open to God the best we have in ourselves.
In spite of the frivolous and superficial tone that pervades our society at this time, Christmas comes close to God. At least if we live it with simple faith and a clean heart.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf